VANDALIA – When scripting a Homecoming game against an opponent you should beat, the Butler Aviators likely would trade in the first six minutes of their game versus Greenville.
Fortunately, the Aviator defense stood tall and gave Butler a chance to regroup as the Aviators rolled behind Logan Flatt’s record setting performance in a 38-14 win on Friday.
The win lifted Butler to 3-3 overall and 1-0 in GWOC North play. Greenville dropped to 2-4 overall and 0-1 in league play.
The start wasn’t what the Aviators had in mind.
After taking the opening kickoff and driving to the Greenville 35-yard line, Mason Motter’s pass was picked off by Micah Light and returned 60 yards to lift the Green Wave to an early 7-0 lead.
Four plays later, Motter was sacked by the Greenville defense and fumbled. Wave defensive lineman Braden Russel scooped up the loose ball and rambled to the Butler 5-yard line before being tackled from behind.
That’s when the game turned.
After Greenville quarterback Tyler Beyke gained a yard on first down, he overthrew a receiver on second down. He was sacked on third down for a 14-yard loss forcing the Wave back to the 18. Instead of kicking Greenville went for it on fourth down but Beyke’s pass was just out of reach and the Wave turned it over on downs.
“The defense came up big for us there,” said Butler’s head coach Nathan Hyatt. “We made a couple of mistakes there and have to get those fixed.”
Butler wasted any time capitalizing.
Aided by a 36-yard run by Logan Flatt, the Aviators marched 82 yards in just eight plays capped off by a 4-yard score by Flatt to tie the game at 7-7 with 1:22 remaining in the first period.
While Flatt was dominating the drive, few knew he was on his way to 303 yards of rushing – just short of the Butler record – and three touchdowns giving Flatt eight touchdowns in the last two games.
“This guy right here (Flatt) and that offensive line – I tell you what,” said Hyatt. “Logan had an injury this summer and was pressing a bit early in the season, but we told him just let it come to you. What people don’t know about that offensive line is that they have been over here working every extra second of practice working on footwork and this is what its all about right here.”
“I had some nice holes to run through tonight, absolutely,” said Flatt. “I think our offensive line really stepped it up and I have most of the credit to them. I had some unbelievable holes to run through. I feel like I’m just getting started.”
Butler started putting distance between them and the Wave in midway through the second period as Motter found Bryant Johnson open over the middle for a 26-yard touchdown pass to claim a 14-7 lead.
The Aviators added a field goal just before halftime after forcing a Greenville punt. Another big gain from Flatt set the Aviators up on first-and goal from the 4-yard line, but this time with was the Wave defense who stood tall and forced the 19-yard kick by Sutton Skapik for a 17-7 lead at half.
Flatt pushed the Aviator lead to 24-7 when he scored from 50-yards out midway through the third period. After forcing a three-and out, the Aviators threatened to score again but Greenville’s Marcus Wood intercepted a Motter pass at the 5-yard line with 2:59 left in the third.
Greenville couldn’t capitalize, though, and after being forced to punt, Flatt made the Wave pay again from 35 yards out with 51 seconds left in the quarter for a 31-7 lead.
To add insult to injury, Motter fumbled on the Aviators’ next drive but a fortunate bounce put the ball in Nick Murphy’s hands who scooped it at the six-yard line and scored for Butler’s final score.
Greenville added a score with 1.6 seconds left to set the final score.
Butler will travel to Troy (4-2, 1-0) on Friday. Greenville will host Piqua (3-3, 0-1).
“We have to come in tomorrow morning and get better,” said Hyatt. “That’s the thing about these guys – we worked all off season about staying in the moment and getting better. I’m excited about tomorrow. It’s a four game season.”
“It is a chance to get better,” added Flatt.
Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.